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Letter Re: Battery-Powered Dirt Bikes

Dear Mr. Rawles,
Your family is in our prayers, and we hope everything is going as well as possible.

Imagine my surprise today as approximately ten dirt bikes drove by me up the street, but weren’t making any noise. I expressed surprise to the friend in the car with me, who responded with, “Oh yeah, there’s a company that makes battery powered dirt bike motorcycles [1], just around the corner.”

Out of curiosity, I headed around that corner and discovered that they were having a large open house, with free dirt bike rides, information on their products, and free hot dogs. Naturally, always looking for a way to “store” food, I eased over to the BBQ grill for a hot dog. At the same time, I admired the appearance of their motorcycles. As it turns out, they have lithium ion batteries packed into a container about the size of a pick-up truck battery. These will power the bikes for approximately two hours. If you’re wealthy enough, you can have an extra, charged battery nearby that you can easily swap out for another two-hour run. It seemed eerie watching these bikes drive around, making only the amount of noise that a small child’s remote-control car would make. They have three or four models, some for the street and some for off-road use, and one that is a hybrid. They aren’t cheap, as they vary in price from $7,000-9,000K. They sort of reminded me of when I was a kid, when the first Honda Trail 90s came out, but with a lot less noise. As I plan my retirement home in Oregon, I anticipate it will be off grid, with solar panels providing most of the power, and these battery-powered bikes would fit right in, especially since my property is rather steep. One of the salesmen indicated that they sold two bikes to a couple of farmers in Northern CA who like the idea of being able to approach someone tampering with their crops fairly quietly on a motorized vehicle.